Need Not Apply?  Improving Employment Outcomes for People with Criminal Records

Saturday, Dec. 12, 8 - 10 a.m. CST
Sponsored by the CSG Justice Center
Each year, more than 10 million adults are released from jail or prison. One in 31 adults is under correctional supervision on any given day in the U.S.; it is estimated that 70 million adults have a criminal record. Across the political spectrum, people agree that efforts to help these individuals stay out of prison or jail and to succeed in the community must include a strategy focused on assisting them to get and maintain a job. As part of the CSG State Pathways to Prosperity initiative, the CSG Justice Center has been working with local and state governments, as well as leaders in the business community, to test and evaluate approaches that work to reduce recidivism and improve employment outcomes. This session will review what has been learned to date and highlight the perspectives of state leaders who are tackling this challenge. 
Learn more about the work of the CSG Justice center at:



Stephanie Akhter
Reentry and Employment Project Manager, CSG Justice Center
Akhter provides support to states and communities that are planning and implementing programs involving collaboration between corrections and work force systems. Akhter also is involved in promoting public-private dialogues across the country to engage business leaders in discussions about reentry and employment. Prior to joining the CSG Justice Center, Akhter was the director of programs for a community-based organization offering work force services to low-income men.


Madeline Neighly
Senior Policy Advisor, Corrections and Reentry, CSG Justice Center
Neighly develops legislative and administrative policies designed to promote successful reentry and improve correctional practices, with a focus on reducing the negative impact of a criminal record on employment, education and housing outcomes. Prior to joining the CSG Justice Center, Neighly represented incarcerated people in the state of Washington and worked to reduce unfair barriers to employment for people with a criminal record as a staff attorney at the National Employment Law Project.
Senator Mark Norris
Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris represents Tennessee’s 32nd District, which is comprised of the eastern part of Shelby County and all of Tipton County. He was first elected to the Senate in 2000 and as majority leader by his peers in 2007. Norris has been named “Legislator of the Year” ten times in the past ten years by various organizations in recognition of his efforts for toughening sentences for violent offenders and amending the constitution to provide property tax relief for seniors. He is an attorney with the firm of Adams and Reese LLC and a farmer. He represents Tennessee’s 32nd District, which is comprised of five of the suburban municipalities of Shelby County, portions of Memphis, unincorporated Shelby County, and all of Tipton County. He currently serves as chairman of the Senate Rules Committee and is a member of the Finance, Ways and Means Committee, Ethics Committee, and State and Local Government Committee. Sen. Norris previously served as chair of The Council of State Governments’ Southern Legislative Conference and is immediate past national chair of CSG.



Rep. John Tilley (invited)
Representing the citizens of Christian and Trigg County since 2006 and serving as the chairman of the Kentucky House Judiciary Committee since 2009, Rep. Tilley has focused his legislative efforts on implementing evidence-based policies aimed at combating substance abuse, maintaining public safety while reducing criminal recidivism, protecting victims of domestic violence, and assisting our active and retired military. Tilley previously served as an assistant prosecutor for Christian County, Ky., and an assistant Hopkinsville city attorney.